It was inevitable – as vaccine mandates across the country approach their deadlines, vast swaths of American workers, service members and atheletes face termination or disciplinary action for refusing to take the Covid-19 jab.
In Los Angeles, nearly 1,000 firefighters are about to sue the city over the mandate. Southwest Airlines’ pilot union sued the company last week, before staffing shortages led to the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights over the weekend (and more on Monday). Meanwhile, doctors and nurses across the country have begun suing their employers.
But not Seattle – which stands to lose 40% of its 1,000 person force for failing to get vaccinated as an Oct. 18 deadline approaches.
“The environment has been pretty toxic and negative,” one officer anonymously told Fox 13. “Not just from this whole mandate, but prior to that as well. I’m not sure this would be a good place for me to work long-term for my mental health. It has been very stressful.”
Recall that this is on the heels of the city losing around 300 officers amid Black Lives Matter riots and the “defund the police” movement.
By the numbers, as of Oct. 6, 292 sworn personnel had yet to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination per the report, down from 354 on Tuesday. An additional 111 officers are awaiting the results of exemption requests, meaning the total number of potentially fired Seattle cops is as high as 403.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan pushed back, telling officers in a Monday email: “We value each of you, and do not want to lose you as employees,” adding “But the people that count on you the most are the ones that need you to get vaccinated.”
As she enters the final months of her term, Durkan is faced with a dilemma: go back on her vaccine mandate or thrust the city into a public safety emergency.
Neither scenario is politically palatable.
According to an internal memo obtained by FOX 13 News, the change in posture will require all sworn personnel to be on standby to respond to 911 calls. That includes detectives assigned to specialty units.
Gov. Jay Inslee told FOX 13 News that agencies across the state have contingency plans to help ensure basic levels of staffing. -Fox13
Another anonymous patrol officer told Fox13 that “Losing even 50 to 75 officers in one day, the response times for the city will go up drastically,” adding that if they don’t approve their religious exemption, “I will continue working until the day that they fire me and that’s about all that I can do.”